The explosion, apparently caused by an accidental leak, also injured 136 people and prompted the evacuation of around 2,000 people from villages near the plant.
While the Mexican government claims rising remittances represents a “competitive advantage” critics say it highlights the fundamental weakness of the domestic economy.
He arrived in 2012 with promises of "Saving Mexico," but ever since, Peña Nieto has dropped in the polls and responded poorly to a string of embarrassing scandals.
Mexico's government for years touted the eventual opening up of its national oil industry to private money. But in its first gamble, it auctioned off only two out of 14 exploration fields, a disappointing result.
Hundreds of people have been killed in accidents blamed on LPG or natural gas leaks in Mexico. But every day, countless Mexicans wake up to hearing a vendor call "Gaaaas!" as trucks distribute propane gas cylinders to fuel homes and businesses.
Reforms at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City prompted normally straight-laced students to take to the streets in huge numbers.
This catastrophe comes in the wake of several other environmental disasters in the northern part of Mexico.
His last article, published two days before his murder, was part of a series he had written in recent weeks on chupaductos — teams of cartel-linked bandits that steal fuel and oil.
Five people were arrested in connection with a criminal cell accused of stealing oil from pipelines owned by the state oil monopoly Pemex.